What's A WWDC?
Last week a lot of marketing entertainment folks were preoccupied with the annual madness of E3 with it’s massive crowds, booth babes and enough flashing lights to give anyone a seizure. While there is certainly business to be done at E3, if you can cut your way through the throngs of gamers, I would say there is as much or more business for entertainment brands at Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference -- WWDC.
While I am big Apple fan, I don’t always agree or like many of the directions and decisions it makes about its hardware, software and on its iTunes platform. In fact, I typically don’t write about WWDC or any conferences in general. That said, there have been some really interesting announcements this week, and I think many are noteworthy since I see us at an inflection point in mobile marketing with big implications for brand marketers –- especially entertainment brand marketers.
Mobile is certainly growing like a weed, and WWDC showcases some great technology and a vibrant platform that should serve as a roadmap for entertainment brands looking to deepen their connection with consumers and drive sales. And WWDC is proof positive that brands need to understand the mobile landscape and the need for an API and app strategy to ensure they are reaching their audience at the crucial moment of truth.
Apple has over 400 million accounts with credit cards. It is an unstoppable, 1-click-to-purchase machine. If your brand isn’t tapping into that audience, you’re missing out. Here are a few examples of what some entertainment brands announced at WWDC this week.
Apple’s iOS 6, the latest updates to the iDevice platform, includes a feature called “Passbook” that lets users store and quickly access electronic versions of all their tickets and merchant cards in one place. Think of Passbook as a ticket and coupon organizer on steroids. For brands selling tickets, using coupons, and running promotions, this is powerful stuff. Again, remember those 400 million accounts with credit cards combined with frictionless, one-click buying! Scott Forstall, senior vice president for iPhone Software, demonstrated the Passbook feature with a San Francisco Giants ticket.
Passbook is integrated with the iPhone lock screen, so if you pass near a movie theater a message may pop up from Fandango (a brand already on Passbook) alerting the user that she has a movie ticket or promotional offer that can be redeemed. The uses for this feature are endless, especially for brands that are promotionally driven, such as movie tie-ins with fast feeders like McDonald’s -- step into a McDonald’s and Passbook knows you’ve purchased a ticket for Pixar’s Cars and it unlocks content or a value add that only McDonald’s can provide. You get the point – there are countless ways to harness the power of Passbook.
All of this points back to why brands need to truly understand the space and where the technology is heading to take advantage of platforms like iOS, Android and geo-fencing technology such as Near Field Communications (NFC), the technology that enables your iPhone to know you’re near a McDonald’s, movie theatre, etc. And all this points to why brands should have an API strategy as a means to be driving distribution for their content or extending their brand experience.
If everything I’ve said above sounds like gobbledygook, it’s time to ask yourself, your head of digital or your agency partners for a deep dive and time to do some experimenting. In 18 months the stuff that is being showcased at WWDC is going to be mainstream. Will you be ready or bested by your competition? And perhaps I will see you at WWDC next year.